Google+ Is a Hollow Threat to Facebook

Feb 28, 2012, 2:29 pm EDT
Google+ Is a Hollow Threat to Facebook

Over the years, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been masterful in attacking new markets. For example, it found ways to dominate mapping, as well as online video (through the YouTube acquisition). But perhaps the biggest move was launching the Android operating system, which has been a worthy competitor to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS empire.

Yet there is one important category that Google has yet to crack: social networking. Despite all its efforts, Google’s G+ offering just can’t get strong traction.

True, the service has signed up 90 million users since June. But sign-ups are just one part of a successful social network. The other critical element is engagement. In other words, do users stay on the platform for prolonged periods of time? This is vital, as it allows for much more advertising opportunities. It also means third parties — like social gamemaker Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) — can enhance the platform by adding cool apps. Read 

Yelp Leads This Week’s IPO Pack

Feb 27, 2012, 3:56 pm EDT
Yelp Leads This Week’s IPO Pack

Last week saw sizzling activity in the IPO market. Bazaarvoice (NYSE:BV), which is a cloud-based platform that analyzes social media, posted a 37.6% return. But the big winner was Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB), which surged over 81%. The company has an automated system that allows manufacturers to easily prototype new products.

The current week has four IPOs on tap. And the group is fairly diverse — ranging from social media to semiconductors to mortgages. Here’s a look:

Yelp (NYSE:YELP): The company’s website lets customers review local businesses. Since its launch in 2003, it has attracted 25 million reviews and gets 66 million unique users per month. Read 

Social Stock Tracker Remains Stable

Feb 27, 2012, 1:03 pm EDT
Social Stock Tracker Remains Stable

During the past few weeks, the Social Stock Tracker has seen little volatility. This has been the case despite the release of earnings reports from Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD).

And last week, the Social Stock Tracker continued to be fairly sedate.

Read 

The Main Players in an IPO

Feb 26, 2012, 6:30 am EDT
The Main Players in an IPO

The IPO process is extremely complex. A company must abide by onerous regulations, such as the Securities Act of 1934 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. As a result, even top-notch companies can have problems somewhere down the line. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) all faced missteps along the way.

To deal with the complexities, a company must hire a variety of top-notch advisers. Not to mention, businesses also have to get funding from private investors. By the time a company goes public, a ton of people have had their hands in the mix in one way or another. To sort it all out, let’s take a look at the main players in an IPO: Venture Capitalists

Venture capitalists (also just called VCs) are people or firms that invest in early-stage companies. The funding amounts can range from $1 million to $100 million or more. Read 

2 IPOs Off to Red-Hot Starts

Feb 24, 2012, 12:32 pm EDT
2 IPOs Off to Red-Hot Starts

Only two IPOs priced this week, but they were hot! Here’s a quick look at the markets’ new publicly traded companies.

Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ:BV): The company develops cloud-based software that helps customers analyze social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The company has 737 active clients, which include large operators like Macy’s (NYSE:M), Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL). From 2009 to 2011, revenues surged from $22.5 million to $64.5 million.

Bazaarvoice priced its IPO at $12, which was above its $8-$10 range, and it was trading up around 40% in midday trading. Read 

Angie’s List Earnings Thrill Investors

Feb 23, 2012, 4:30 pm EDT
Angie’s List Earnings Thrill Investors

When Angie’s List (NASDAQ:ANGI) — an online company providing reviews for contractors — launched its IPO last November, it posted a nice 25% gain on its first day of trading. The offering came off the strength of Groupon‘s (NASDAQ:GRPN) IPO, which also enjoyed a good performance.

Unlike Groupon, Angie’s List was able to keep up the momentum through its first quarterly earnings report.

ANGI shares gained 7% Thursday after the company announced a 70% surge in fourth-quarter revenues, to a Street-beating $27.4 million, and saw its membership base increase 78% to 1,074,757. While the company did post a $5.87 million (14 cents per share) loss, that was better than the year-ago period’s $8.24 million loss. Read 

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